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Author Topic: Painful lesson for Plano dad: Daughter in exile overseas (US to UK)  (Read 3127 times)

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Offline M.Capestro

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Painful lesson for Plano dad: Daughter in exile overseas
http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/Painful-lesson-for-Plano-dad-Daugher-in-exile-overseas-137543983.html


by JASON WHITELY
WFAA
Posted on January 17, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Updated yesterday at 10:31 PM


PLANO — Bart Hermer said he never expected his daughter’s childhood to develop the way it has over the last year.
 
"This is all I have left of my daughter,” he said scanning Alessia's nursery. “I can't put it in a box. The day I do that, I put her in a box."
 
Alessia is alive and well, but Hermer, 51, has not seen her in more than a year.
 
He said the girl’s mother, Simmone Cohen, kidnapped his Texas-born daughter and is now raising her overseas without him.
 
"It was my first family experience,” Hermer added, “and it hurts when you find out it was all a setup."
 
Hermer never married Cohen after the two met on a singles cruise.
 
She’s British. He’s from Plano, and so is Alessia. She was born in North Texas.
 
When Hermer lost his job, the couple moved in with his parents.
 
Still, he said they still took vacations — including trips to a spa in Arizona and then back to England, where Cohen is from.
 
But Cohen told a British Court they were actually moving to the U.K.
 
She even showed a London utility bill set up in Hermer's name and said he was looking for new positions there, according to British court records News 8 reviewed.
 
On one trip to England in September 2009, the UK let Cohen and Alessia in, but refused to admit Hermer.
 
Immigration officers said that without a job, he might be a burden on the welfare system.
 
But Hermer insists they were only vacationing, and all three had return tickets to the U.S. on Continental Airlines.
 
"I'm 50, not 15,” he explained. “I can't just go to England and wing it."
 
If the couple had intended to leave Texas, Hermer added, they would have taken more things — including Alessia's crib and toys, more of Simmone's clothes (including a fur coat), designer jeans, and expensive handbags, along with personal pictures of her pregnancy and family in the U.K.
 
"We left everything here because we were coming back," Hermer said.
 
He has compiled other evidence in a one-inch thick notebook that Hermer said the British court never really considered.
 
Among the evidence is a Skype conversation Cohen had with a friend, which, Hermer said, proves she plotted it all.
 
"Will leave stuff here..  be selected on what I leave ... stuff I will learn to live without," Cohen wrote,  according to a screengrab of the conversation Hermer showed News 8.
 
Still, after a lengthy court hearing, a British judge called Hermer a “fantasist” and said he became blind to his deteriorating relationship with Cohen.
 
In the end, the U.K. court ruled against the Texas father and decided that Alessia should stay in England where her mother intended for her to live.
 
In addition, the judge also denied Hermer permission to appeal the ruling.
 
Simmone Cohen did not return an e-mail from News 8, and her Dallas attorney did not respond to questions, either. The lawyer suggested the British court has already made up its mind in Alessia’s case.
 
But experts say children abducted by family and taken overseas are a growing concern, with no easy answers.
 
"It is a huge problem,” said Stephen Cullen, a Baltimore attorney who has worked on more than 650 similar cases over the last 20 years.  “Right now, the State Department has taken on 25 to 30 new case workers to deal with parental abductions – trying to get American children back to the United States."
 
While he said the United States has made a considerable effort to get American-born children returned to their parents, Cullen acknowledges that systemic problems persist.
 
"One problem with the United States is, it's very easy to leave America,” Cullen pointed out. “There's no problem getting out of this country. Almost every other country has exit controls."
 
The Justice Department reports more than 200,000 children have been kidnapped by family members – often a mother or father.
 
The FBI even has its "Most Wanted" list of parents who are accused of abducting their own children from their spouse and fleeing out of the country with them.
 
Simmone Cohen has not been charged with a crime. But, according to a letter from the U.S. State Department Hermer shared, Cohen will not let the Embassy in London check on Alessia for her father.
 
Regardless, he remains confident he'll get his daughter back.
 
Hermer said Special Agent Richard Higbie and others at the U.S. State Department are examining his case.
 
Hermer remains one of thousands of parents who know where their American-born child is located, but is helpless in bringing them home.
 
E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

Offline Diane

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Re: Painful lesson for Plano dad: Daughter in exile overseas (US to UK)
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2012, 01:23:47 PM »
So sad.   The pictures say it all.  Another father deprived of the child he adores.  The tragic part is that these little citizens have no real protection from their own own government to be returned to the country of their birth.   Only adults get that kind of attention from the state dept, and most politicians.  She is such a beautiful little girl. 
I hope at some point, someone in power cares enough to make this the priority that it should have always been.   (Always thought that if someone powerful enough had this happen in their own family and knew how painful it was, they would take up the fight.)   Like Congressman Miller of Ca. who hasn't even issued a public statement as far as I know on the return of his grandchildren.

Offline StrngConviction

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Re: Painful lesson for Plano dad: Daughter in exile overseas (US to UK)
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2012, 12:10:29 AM »
So sad.   The pictures say it all.  Another father deprived of the child he adores.  The tragic part is that these little citizens have no real protection from their own own government to be returned to the country of their birth.   Only adults get that kind of attention from the state dept, and most politicians.  She is such a beautiful little girl. 
I hope at some point, someone in power cares enough to make this the priority that it should have always been.   (Always thought that if someone powerful enough had this happen in their own family and knew how painful it was, they would take up the fight.)   Like Congressman Miller of Ca. who hasn't even issued a public statement as far as I know on the return of his grandchildren.

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Offline Bree

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Re: Painful lesson for Plano dad: Daughter in exile overseas (US to UK)
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2012, 03:15:52 PM »
So sad.   The pictures say it all.  Another father deprived of the child he adores.  The tragic part is that these little citizens have no real protection from their own own government to be returned to the country of their birth.   Only adults get that kind of attention from the state dept, and most politicians.  She is such a beautiful little girl. 
I hope at some point, someone in power cares enough to make this the priority that it should have always been.   (Always thought that if someone powerful enough had this happen in their own family and knew how painful it was, they would take up the fight.)   Like Congressman Miller of Ca. who hasn't even issued a public statement as far as I know on the return of his grandchildren.


Well said, Diane!  I think we should do a letter writing campaign to Congressman Miller for the children that are in Mexico.  He obviously knows what it is like to have a loved one taken and want them back.  The only difference is he had the political power to make the return of his grandchildren happen.  His silence speaks more than his words could to me (in regards to his situation). 
"Every parent who has a child and they tuck him in at night, or her in at night, and they wish the best and only the best and they will always protect the child and do whatever they can, but most of the time they don't have to prove it. I'm in the proving grounds, to myself and to my child.  I have to get him home and I will do whatever I have to. I'll never stop to save him."  --David Goldman

Offline StrngConviction

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Re: Painful lesson for Plano dad: Daughter in exile overseas (US to UK)
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2012, 11:01:25 AM »
So sad.   The pictures say it all.  Another father deprived of the child he adores.  The tragic part is that these little citizens have no real protection from their own own government to be returned to the country of their birth.   Only adults get that kind of attention from the state dept, and most politicians.  She is such a beautiful little girl. 
I hope at some point, someone in power cares enough to make this the priority that it should have always been.   (Always thought that if someone powerful enough had this happen in their own family and knew how painful it was, they would take up the fight.)   Like Congressman Miller of Ca. who hasn't even issued a public statement as far as I know on the return of his grandchildren.


Well said, Diane!  I think we should do a letter writing campaign to Congressman Miller for the children that are in Mexico.  He obviously knows what it is like to have a loved one taken and want them back.  The only difference is he had the political power to make the return of his grandchildren happen.  His silence speaks more than his words could to me (in regards to his situation). 
i HAVE TRIED NUMEROUS TIMES TO DRAW A RESPONSE AND TO NO AVAIL
Behind this smile is something only we LBP understand.
                May God be with ALL our children.

Offline Diane

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Re: Painful lesson for Plano dad: Daughter in exile overseas (US to UK)
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2012, 12:16:52 PM »


[/quote]  Bree
 I think we should do a letter writing campaign to Congressman Miller for the children that are in Mexico.  He obviously knows what it is like to have a loved one taken and want them back.  The only difference is he had the political power to make the return of his grandchildren happen.  His silence speaks more than his words could to me (in regards to his situation). 
[/quote] i HAVE TRIED NUMEROUS TIMES TO DRAW A RESPONSE AND TO NO AVAIL"  StrongConviction



Perhaps we can make a petition on The petition site or Care 2,   phrased in a way that demands equality of treatment for abducted children,  for ALL ABDUCTED CHILDREN.   The patience of the public for corruption in government, which favors the rich or powerful is quickly gaining ground, thanks to the power of the internet.


It is time to shine a light on their collective,uncaring bureaucratic state of stupor.    Let's document every letter and every phone call that is not responded to and then to name, names of those who ignore us and those who lend their support.  I can begin with about ten letters and phone calls, to my Senator,  (Debbie Stebenow) None of which were returned

Let's try to formulate a web site (Maybe here:) for everyone to post a scorecard for those in power at every level.  Then we can put that information on a petition for everyone to see.  (Even those who don't care about this issue will know who is responsive to their constituents)   Well before election time.   

Offline StrngConviction

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Re: Painful lesson for Plano dad: Daughter in exile overseas (US to UK)
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2012, 08:30:07 PM »
it would be an interesting thing to see for sure
I think congressman miller would be a good place to start,,,,
Behind this smile is something only we LBP understand.
                May God be with ALL our children.